Modern workers are becoming secure with insecurity. Gone are the days where one remains at the same company for years, working their way up the ladder. Now, we expect lateral or even diagonal moves, going out and up to a new job within a few years.
The same short-employment-attention span that’s behind switching jobs may be familiar to those who are considering a switch in careers. Some grow tired of their career, see no future in the offing or simply believe they chose the wrong college major.
If you are thinking of changing careers, but are worried, you are not alone. You worry about your ability to find a job in your new choice of career, or you may be concerned about a drop in pay and lifestyle changes that come from a period of unemployment or a decreased income. According to poll numbers, fear of economic hard times is what keeps people from changing careers.
It won’t be easy to start a new career. However, there are some things you can do to make the transition less rocky.
Give the Move Due Consideration
If you are sure you’re ready to leave your current occupation, but unsure which way to go, take stock of your interests and skill set. Look at what you’ve already accomplished or proven to be successful in. Try to limit the amount of retraining you’ll have to do on your next job. It will make you more attractive to employers if you’re nearly ready to hit the ground running.
Prepare and Save
Don’t leave the job without a few months’ worth of pay saved up. It may take you a year or more to save enough. However, you should have enough money saved to maintain your current bills and other obligations while you're out of a job and searching for a new one.
Find Supplemental Income
Find some work that you can do part-time while working on improving your skills and making the right connections. You might try a work at home opportunity like freelance writing. Or you may consider joining a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft. It's a good idea to keep some money coming in whether or not you have saved.
Take Care of Your Well-Being
Some companies offer health care plans even for part-time employees. Health care is another issue you should think about. If you’re in good health, you might ignore potential health care costs because it rarely comes up. Yet, there’s little worse than really needing to see a doctor and wondering how you can afford it. Talk to someone at the health services department or your state government to discuss options.
Loans and Credit
When changing careers you may also need to add to your education with additional schooling or trade certifications and will have to take some entrance exams for a graduate degree program. These are time-intensive tasks that cost money and may have hidden costs so it's important to research and prepare for these expenses ahead of time.
In order to make these things happen, you may need to get a student loan (on top of one you might already have). Get your credit report as clean as possible and stay current with all your unsecured loans while you prepare to move to a new career.
You may be able to mitigate the costs of furthering your education by starting school before you quit your old job. If you work for a state government, you may be eligible for tuition discounts at a nearby college.
It is not wise to get a new line of credit when you are contemplating voluntary unemployment. Yet, in a worst-case scenario, you might need a credit card with a low balance. If you have good credit, you should apply for the card while employed and get a better interest rate.
Budget Now and Be Happy Later
The most painful thing you’ll do is re-configuring your budget. Unless you make a near immediate transition to a new job with a minimal pay cut, you’ll have to make some decisions. You know you’ll need an Internet connection and a car if you live in a city with unreliable public transportation. You’ll need to eat and pay bills. Everything else is open to being discarded. Such tough choices will be a little less disconcerting when you realize you’re making a sacrifice now for future happiness and success.